Can Anyone Save the ACA?: logo with tag Imagine More

Can Anyone Save the ACA?

by Linda Jenkinson

Health Care

Right now #SavetheACA is trending on Twitter. I don't think it's going to happen no matter what American citizens want. The House of Representatives, seems to be caught up in some nostalgic, delusional version of "Father Knows Best" with speaker Paul Ryan at the head of the table, making a mess of the turkey that is the ACA.

The ACA, as initially rolled out, was a turkey. For the one year my husband and I were eligible for the ACA, I absolutely hated it. The ACA gave us access to some of the crappiest insurance on the market. It promised NOT to pay for anything medical until we had spent $2,000 on care. But at least it was insurance, it was affordable, and it covered my husband's pre-existing Type II Diabetes as well as a heart-valve condition. No, we couldn't get all the care we needed, but if disaster struck, we would have been able to manage. We didn't realize how important that was until the second year.

Then, because my husband's employer made insurance available, we were no longer eligible to use the insurance market place. Through work, his insurance cost about $200.00 per month, an increase of over $100.00. To add me to his policy would change his policy from a single person insurance to a family policy at a additional cost of $500.00 per month. In other words, no longer affordable for us. Moreover, the ACA marketplace was not available to me because of the availability (although not affordability) of my husband's insurance. That year we opted to pay the penalty. I went without insurance, everyday thankful that I didn't have an accident or major illness.

The following year I was eligible for Medicare. It is a blessing that I don't need to worry about a broken bone or an illness for which I can't afford care. With my Medicare premium and my supplements, I pay just over $2700 a year in insurance costs. I didn't use that much this year, so you might say that my payments went for someone else's healthcare. That's the way insurance works whether it's health insurance, home owner's, or auto. We all pay for the misfortunes of others but when tragedy strikes our lives, their money is in the pool for us.

Watching the recent townhall meetings of Republican Representatives, those who dared to hold them, was almost comical as they tried to explain their party's sketchy plan for American healthcare over the loud dissent of their constituents. They have forgotten that voters are not children who need guidance.

Representatives were elected to represent the will and needs of their voters—it's even in the word—not to make decisions for them. Too many of them have forgotten that they were elected to represent a district, not a party. In fact, far too many of our politicians are lost in the glamour of the quasi-celebrity they have been granted by their constituents. They are unwilling to listen, not only to voter concerns, but also expert advice in the misguided belief that they know what is best for America.

On Twitter, Bob Doherty of the American College of Physicians says,

Luckily for the American public, the House didn't have the votes today to pass the bill. They will try again tomorrow… or at a time when they believe they can pass it. That day will be a sad one for us all. However, I don't think there is much more we can do about it for now. We'll have to hang tight until 2018. Then, if we are smart, we will elect Congressional Representatives that remember why we all have two ears and one mouth. They will listen to what their constituents have to say instead of acting like the father who knows best and telling us that what they want to do is for our own good.

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